pete buttigieg, chasten buttigieg, don't say gay bill

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Republican lawmakers in Florida are pushing a bill that would restrict how teachers are allowed to discuss gender and sexuality in kindergarten through fifth grades. Officially known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, it has been dubbed the “Don't Say Gay” bill by its opponents.

The bill recently passed a Florida House committee vote and cleared the state's Senate Education Committee this week.

Under the House bill, Florida school districts "may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students."

It could also encourage parents to sue schools if they feel that gender or sexuality has been discussed inappropriately.

The bill’s vague warning doesn’t define what "age-appropriate" and "developmentally appropriate” mean, leading some to believe it would shut down discussion of those matters altogether. If passed, teachers would be rightfully scared to broach the topics for fear of bringing a lawsuit upon their district.


Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t specifically said if he’d sign the bill but has signaled his support. "We've seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, 'Oh, don't worry, don't pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.' They won't tell the parents about these discussions that are happening. That is entirely inappropriate," DeSantis said.

"The larger issue with all of this is parents must have a seat at the table when it comes to what's going on in their schools," he added.

Obviously, children should be taught about gender sexuality in ways that are age-appropriate, but that should be across the board, regardless of whether someone is gay, straight, nonbinary or transgender.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay official to lead a department within the federal government, gave a clear and level-headed explanation on CNN on why the bill is so dangerous to the LGBTQ community.

Buttigieg said the bill was “absolutely” dangerous. “And the reason is that it tells youth who are different or whose families are different that there's something wrong with them out of the gate,” Buttigieg told CNN. “And I do think that contributes to the shocking levels of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth.”

In a tweet, Buttigieg's husband, Chasten, referenced a Trevor Project survey that found alarming rates of suicidal thoughts among LGBTQ youth.

In the CNN interview, Buttigieg used an example from his own life to show how the bill would hurt LGBT families. He and his husband recently adopted twins.

“Chasten, my husband, pointed out that, you know, if our kids someday, some Monday morning come into class and you know, kids are sitting around, the teacher's got the morning circle talking about how everybody's weekends went, and one of them says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dads’,” Buttigieg explained.

“Is a teacher supposed to say, ‘No, we don't talk about that here’? You know, if it's at any age where it's appropriate to talk about, you know, a kid's mom and dad, then it should be appropriate to talk about a kid's mom and mom, or dad and dad—or whatever family structures we live with," he added. “That's part of what it means to be pro-family, is to be pro-every family.”

The Buttigiegs are right. You can’t just make laws that ban people from talking about their everyday lives. LGBTQ people are everywhere and are important parts of the lives of the children in our schools, whether they are teachers, parents or family members. It’s not only bigoted but just plain ridiculous to try to erase them from our communities.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

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A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

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